Avram Grant remains in limbo at West Ham

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The Independent Football

West Ham were mulling over the future of Avram Grant today as David Gold and David Sullivan came under attack for their failure to end speculation about the manager's increasingly precarious position.

Grant insisted he was still the man at the helm at Upton Park on Saturday evening despite intense speculation that Martin O'Neill had been lined up to replace him.

The West Ham owners have reportedly approached the former Leicester and Aston Villa boss with a view to replacing Grant, who has seen his side prop up the Barclays Premier League for the majority of the season.

But the former Chelsea boss remains in charge today although Gold and Sullivan are understood to be assessing their options in what could turn out to be a crucial decision for a club ridden with around £90million of debt.

In addition, reports that Grant had already agreed a severance deal with his employers today are thought to be wide of the mark.

Fans groups have reacted with anger at the owners' refusal to either back or sack the manager they appointed on a four-year contract last summer.

Former Hammers captain Julian Dicks called on Gold and Sullivan to end the speculation or risk turning the club into a "laughing stock".

He said: "All I know is what I have seen in the newspapers and on the television - I heard one minute that Avram was leaving, then the next I hear it's Martin O'Neill who's coming in, and then he isn't. We're becoming a laughing stock really.

"They (Gold and Sullivan) have the best interests of the club and the supporters at heart, I'm sure, but they need to come out and end all this speculation and say 'we support you' or they should sack him.

"They need to get this sorted out so everyone can start concentrating on the football again."

Gold and Sullivan, who ran Birmingham for 16 years before taking over at Upton Park, pride themselves on their record of having sacked only three managers during their time in football.

Should they decide to bring O'Neill to Upton Park, Dicks thinks appointing the 58-year-old would be a wise move.

"I would like to think Martin O'Neill would do a good job for the club," said Dicks, who made over 250 appearances for the club and now manages non-league Grays Athletic.

"He is an experienced and very passionate manager and has had a lot of success at all the clubs he has been at."

A host of names have been mentioned as Grant's potential successor, including Chris Hughton and Martin Jol, but another - Sam Allardyce - refused to comment on speculation linking him with the post.

"Avram has not been released from his position so it's not for me to speculate on that," the former Blackburn manager told Sky Sports News.

Allardyce, who left Ewood Park last month, warned the club that sacking Grant could backfire.

"People seem to think that a new manager brings better results but in actual fact the stats disprove that immensely," he added.

Grant is thought to be keen on adding to his squad in the transfer market and has been linked with moves for strikers Robbie Keane, Demba Ba and Monaco's Dieumerci Mbokani.

The loan signing of Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge was intended to add some experience to the Hammers defence but he suffered a terrible debut as he was ran ragged by Arsenal's Theo Walcott in Saturday's 3-0 defeat.

The 30-year-old is determined to put the performance behind him and help West Ham out of the relegation zone.

"It was a difficult game for me," Bridge told West Ham's website.

"Theo is really quick and that was my first 90 minutes for a while. I've not played too many games this season, so I had a little bit of cramp at the end, but I didn't feel too bad for the first 60.

"I'll just improve next week. Things can only get better.

"One thing I don't want to see is West Ham go down."